Rainfall in and around the country was welcomed after a period of intense heat. The rains were also a reminder of the flooding that several communities endured last year. We asked the City Emergency Management Organization, Liaison Officer for the Belize City Council Wayne Usher, how prepared I the city in the event of a re occurrence.
“I can tell you that we cannot predict what is going to happen but I can tell you that since last year and the experience that we had we have learnt so much from that that we are not going to make those same mistakes again this time around. We are much better prepared, we are much better aware of what to look for and no flood will catch us off guard any longer here, we’ve learnt our lessons last year. We saw the rains coming, everybody knew it was going to rain but from our own aspect and culture we dispensed with it and brushed it off, no man thought that we would have three days of incessant rains and that really flooded everything and then there was no where for the water to go because the ground was already saturated, all the waterways were filled up, the tide was high so that was an experience that we have better planned and better prepared for now. We know that if we have to evacuate people what we need in terms of equipment, the timing to evacuate people, the areas in particular that are vulnerable to flooding we are much better off now.”
Mayor Darrel Bradley also commented on the potential for flooding and assured us that the Belize City Council is already taking precautions.
“We are sadly going to be with flooding for a significant amount of time because Belize City really is at sea level so that one of the things that we have done is even using concrete roads that is a flood mitigation and climate adaptability strategy because the concrete is able to last through a weather storm better than asphalt. We are working very hard on getting our roads prepared, very shortly we already signed the contract for a drainage clean out and then refilling the manhole covers that is something that people are going to see very shortly. We are working very closely in terms of having crews on the ground who are digging out drains and cleaning out drains in various neighborhoods in Belize City so that we are working on that not as a project but we have people who are doing that every single day as part of their core component.We are talking a lot about sanitation, about ensuring that we clean out the drains because we’ve noticed that a lot of blockage is as a result of the fact that people dump. We are trying to work with the community to ensure that those kinds of issues don’t happen and we are ensuring that we just clean out and make sure that we have adequate drains throughout Belize.”
In the event of severe flooding, CEMO says they are prepared to evacuate residents.